Self-Harm in Adolescence as Maladaptive Coping

Slavka Demuthova, Andrej Demuth


Psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, and other associated professions, as well as the public from all over Europe have noticed the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health. In this regard, adolescents appear to be a highly vulnerable group, which is more affected than adults and children in many aspects. This study focuses on a specific and extremely maladaptive way of coping with mental stress and problems – deliberate self-harm. It offers an epidemiological study of the prevalence of self-harm among Slovak youths, its forms and related variables, carried out on a sample of 2,280 adolescents aged 11 – 19 using the SHI questionnaire. The results reveal that within the overall prevalence of 45.2%, the most vulnerable group are girls from non-traditional families who began to self-harm at an early age. The most frequent forms of self-harm among adolescents were torturing with self-defeating thoughts, followed by both direct and indirect forms of physical self-harm. An analysis of the willingness to disclose self-harming behaviour shows that the need to raise awareness of this behaviour should be mostly oriented towards adolescents.


self-harm; adolescence; prevalence; forms

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